From the Middle Ages until the Holocaust, Jews comprised a significant part of the Polish population. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, known as a "Jewish paradise" for its religious tolerance, attracted numerous Jews who fled persecution from other European countries, even though, at times, discrimination against Jews surfaced as it did elsewhere in Europe.
Poland was a major spiritual and cultural center for Ashkenazi Jewry, and Polish Jews made major contributions to Polish cultural, economic, and political life. At the start of the Second World War, Poland had the largest Jewish population in the world (over 3.3 million , the vast majority of whom were killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust during the German occupation of Poland, particularly through the implementation of the "Final Solution" mass extermination program.
Only 369,000 (11%) survived. After massive postwar emigration, the current Polish Jewish population stands at somewhere between 8,000 and 20,000.
- Daleszowa - 48.47.10 North, 25.29.00 East
- Michalcze - 48.47.53 North, 25.33.03 East
- Ustechko - 48.76.66 North, 25.06.00 East
- Horodenka ( Gorodenka ) 48.40.00 North, 25.30.00 East
- Ivano Frankivska
"The village of Daleshova, one of the villages in the district of "Horodenka", was home to forty-eight people. Most of these villages were near the "Dniester River", and only a strip of thick forest separated them from the river. The dwellers of these villages were primarily Russians who spoke Ukrainian, while a small percentage of them were Poles who had assimilated among the Russians and forgotten the Polish language.
Daleshova, before the First World War, there were ten Jewish families who had inhabited the village for many generations. After the war, however, only five families remained; the rest of the families scattered to nearby cities, and a group of them fled, immigrating to America. The Jews of the village were mainly involved in farming, and some of them in business – for how could a Jew separate completely from business and not go every Tuesday to market day in Horodenka? In general, poor village peasants, who were forced to work as day laborers in order to eke out their living, did the actual work of the fields that were owned by the Jews. They were very jealous of the Jews who lived a relatively more comfortable life, without having to work so hard.
Almost every day, Jews from the neighboring cities would come to the village. Their livelihood came from visiting the village on a daily basis to buy and sell; afterward they would return to their homes at night. The place that they lodged in the village was called "the Kalmanke", where they could obtain tallisim and tefillin for prayer, and where they could obtain breakfast after davening.
The woman, who was known as "Di Kalmanke", was "Baila", wife of "Kalman Katz", and oldest daughter of "Fruma" and "Yosef Shneur". Yosef Shneur was a wealthy Jew, who had no sons, but did have three daughters. He wrote a sefer Torah that, before his death, he directed to be given over to his learned son-in-law, "Kalman Katz", who would say his kaddish. So the Torah remained in the house of Kalman Katz, where every Shabbos many Jews from the neighboring villages would gather to pray. After the "death of Kalman Katz in 1915", the Torah remained in the hands of the Kalmanke, and when we had to leave the village because of the Russian invasion, the Torah was transferred to one of the farmers to guard until we returned to the village. When we returned to the village after the war, the Torah was restored to the Kalmanke, and she immediately had it checked, as prescribed by law. From that time on, people began to gather again in her house to pray on the Sabbath, as in the days when her husband been alive. Pursuant to her request, the Torah stayed as an inheritance in the family of her daughter Raize Bidar, whose husband fell in war; she remained a widow with two daughters. These two widows, the mother and daughter, ran the very large farm with great skill.
The Jewish youth in the villages were generally wholesome children who received their education in the central cities or in more distant cities, and weren't much different than city children. However, I must point out that there was always a palpable barrier between the village and the city youth, both in school and on the street. The villagers would wait with longing for vacation, where they would meet up with their peers from their own village and from nearby villages. When the school season would end, many of them would return to their villages and would be occupied, like their parents, in farming and in business. In each of their hearts was implanted an abundant love for the village of their birth.
Most of the youth belonged to the Zionist movement, and they longed to move to the land of Israel. In the evening, they would gather for activities and clubs with friends from the city, who in the village had been involved in training teachers of young children. These teachers were close to the village children, and knew how to reach them. Many of the village youth went out for training, but only a few of them merited to move to the land of Israel, and they scattered to all parts of the land
Dr. B. Lagstein
Translated by Yehudis Fishman
"The Seventeenth Century Hebrew Book" (2 Vols) Escrito por Marvin J. Heller http://www.brill.com/seventeenth-century-hebrew-book-2-vols